Karim Benzema has taken to Instagram to confirm that he has had to withdraw from the France World Cup squad through injury.
News of Benzema’s absence has come at a bad time as France are just days out from their opening game in Qatar against Australia.
The Ballon d’Or winner said: ‘In my life I have never given up but tonight I have to think about the team as I have always done’.
The Real Madrid striker continued: ‘So reason tells me to leave my place to someone who can help our group make a good World Cup. Thank you for all your messages of support.’
France had been pinning their hopes on Benzema and fellow star forward Kylian Mbappe to fire them to back-to-back World Cup victories.
However, this news will force France manager Didier Deschamps to quickly change his plans with the Australia game just days away.
Benzema has been on scintillating form for club and country over the past year and the striker would have been hoping to continue this run heading into the World Cup.
The 34-year-old was absent from France’s victory in Russia four years ago and, with time against him, this would likely have been Benzema’s last chance to taste World Cup glory.
The veteran forward also isn’t the first France player to withdraw from the squad in the build-up to the World Cup.
RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku suffered a long-term injury in training after a tackle from teammate Eduardo Camavinga – adding to the already growing list of French absentees.
Juventus’ Paul Pogba and Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante were ruled out of the tournament before the France squad was announced – meaning two key cogs from the 2018 World Cup winning squad were already unavailable.
Deschamps will be hoping that his side’s run of bad luck is over as they look to defend their World Cup title.